Blast from the Past – the beginnings of classroom education

Did you know that I Love A Clean San Diego is approaching its 60th Anniversary? While we’ve been around since 1954, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that ILACSD started going into classrooms to do environmental presentations. In 1982, I Love A Clean San Diego’s Education Program put a call out looking for volunteers to help give presentations to schools. 31 years later, the department has grown to be quite a success! In 2012 alone, our Education Department gave 531 presentations to more than 37,000 San Diegans!

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Not familiar with what exactly the Education Program here at ILACSD does? Allow me to fill you in! The Education Department is split into three parts: presentations, community events, and programs. Our presence at community events continues to grow each year. ILACSD staff often attend events such as festivals, fairs, and farmer’s markets to educate the general public about the environment. Presentations and programs are usually given in schools to students and younger children.

The primary goal of the Education Department is to positively impact the local community by informing them about the environment and how to reduce their ecological footprint. Our staff focus on providing quality education through specific issues such as: waste reduction, recycling, resource conservation, proper disposal of hazardous waste, as well as storm water pollution.  Storm water pollution is a particularly interesting topic to discuss with children and adults. Why? Storm water drains are commonly spotted on our streets and what people don’t realize is that everything that flows into a storm drain (whether it’s water or trash) goes straight into our oceans! Storm drains are not filtered before going into the sea like the sewer system is. The Department also emphasizes how important it is to pick up even the tiniest pieces of trash off the streets.  Once trash is pushed into the ocean, marine animals mistake it for food. During a presentation, staff show students a jar filled with different types of common plastics pieces (toothbrush, umbrella handle, bottle cap, comb, lighter) and then learn it’s the stomach contents found in a deceased Albatross (a type of seabird).

One of the many visual aids that ILACSD educators take to presentations, this contains albatross stomach contents

One of the many visual aids that ILACSD educators take to presentations, this contains albatross stomach contents

Just look how far Education Department has come since 1954! From looking to volunteers to help with the program to making a difference one presentation at a time! If you would like more information on our programs, presentations, or are interested in having us come to a community event please contact our Education Coordinator, Erika Bjorkquist at ebjorkquist@cleansd.org. Thank you to all of our San Diegan’s for continued support! Here’s to another 60 years!

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